2006 Scholars

Taruna Aggarwal
Taruna Aggarwal
Taruna Aggarwal
Emery Secondary School
UC Davis

My participation in the East Bay Alliance for a Suitable Economy gave me the opportunity to find a new side of me. I always desired to help others and to make a difference; now I know I can. I am not only an academic student but also a civically involved person. I not only participate in many clubs, I also tutor students and try to reach my peers to come to the realization of the importance of college and of service above self.

“She investigates alternatives to maximize her academic prowess…and constantly shows how very supportive she is of her family and others.”

Donever Waters, Senior Library Assistant
Oakland Public Library

Krsna Avila
Krsna Avila
Krsna Avila
Skyline High School
UC Davis

On August 25, 2001, my cousin Everado Ortiz died at the age of twenty after an accident cause by drunk driving. It was his death that taught me a valuable lesson about life. When he was alive he was very smart, but he became a victim of peer pressure. I, too, was gradually losing track of my educational goals…I finally realized that there are many regrets in life and I did not want this to be one of them.

“Krsna’s intellect and strong work ethic are balanced by a great sense of humor and a true ability to work with others in a collaborative setting.”

Zach Ronneberg, Physics Teacher
Skyline Hight School

Akiba Bradford
Akiba Bradford
Akiba Bradford
Oakland High School
Knox University (Illinois)

Seeing Fiji’s people survive poverty with smiles on their faces made me appreciate my America. I used to wonder when the newest shoes and hottest technology would hit the market, not realizing there were people in other countries that didn’t know how to use a computer and couldn’t afford shoes. The poverty I am in doesn’t compare to the poverty in Fiji. I am learning how to appreciate my life and how to overcome my hardships. I came into this world fighting for my life and I’m still fighting.

“Akiba hiked a hundred miles in the Appalachian Mountains. The only African American in the program, she shared her history and life with her peers.”

Lorna Velasco, Executive Director
Summer Search San Francisco

Perla Cantu
Perla Cantu
Perla Cantu
MetWest High School
Mills College

The experiences I have endured throughout my life have taught me to believe that working alongside somebody doubles the chances for great creations. For our lives to be meaningful, we have to determine what our purpose is by exploring our interest and passions, and learning that we must share our skills and knowledge with the community. With my FACES and Youth Radio volunteer experience I have discovered that I have a passion for healthcare and for empowering my community with knowledge.

“Perla is a natural born leader with lots of charisma, motivation and determination”

Christina Chung, 12th Grade Teacher/Advisor
MetWest High School

Brittany Chambers
Brittany Chambers
Brittany Chambers
McClymonds EXCEL High School
UC Berkeley

I have realized that life is precious. Everyday I look forward to coming home to my year- old daughter. I am managing to be a full time student and mother. Nothing has been harder, but nothing has been as rewarding. I will be graduating an entire year early, ranking third in my class. I hold pure treasure; as my daughter grows, I also grow to accommodate her new needs. Through her I have gained time management, responsibility and endurance, skills I use to advance my education so that I can become more than another statistic.

“With maturity and integrity, Brittany confronts seemingly insurmountable obstacles, demonstrating her strength of character and her determination to rise above them.”

Stephanie Kusko, Chemistry Teacher
McClymonds EXCEL High School

DeAndre Cherry
De’Andre Cherry
De’Andre Cherry
Oakland Tech High School
Morehouse

I had an indifferent attitude my first year and a half of high school. Fortunately, my parents discussed my situation, telling me I was too smart to not succeed. I didn’t want to throw my life away, so I changed. Remarkably, my new mind set fostered an awakening; my GPA climbed an entire grade point in one semester. As Cross Country team captain, Black Students’ Union VP, and working with so many different individuals, I’ve learned to be a problem solver. Although I had a rough start, I managed to turn myself around.

“De’Andre’s hunger for learning is inspiring. He always wants to know how things work, and why things are.”

Parker Merrill, Director/ Instructor
Engineering Academy, Oakland Tech


Rakim Johnson
Rakim Johnson
Rakim Johnson
Oakland Technical High School
UC San Diego

A wise man told me that 10% of what determines where your life goes is what happens to you, and 90% is how you react to it. I have decided that I’m not going to focus on what I don’t have, but rather take advantage of what I do have. I had no idea my brother and sisters were watching me, but because I had gotten good grades and worked hard they were compelled to get good grades and work hard. I’m proud of setting a good example and hopefully they’ll even surpass me.

“Rakim takes initiative in everything he does. Never down for long when obstacles arise, he understands how to bounce back and work harder the next time.”

Jonas Zuckerman, Teacher
Oakland Technical High School

Evelyn Navarro
Evelyn Navarro
Evelyn Navarro
Life Academy
Mills College

My Aunt Elena inspired me and gave me the safe space I did not have at home. When the doctor told us she had cancer, I was enraged. Two months later she passed away. Losing my aunt pushed me to become a stronger person. Life is short and I want to become a successful female leader. I hope to show Latinas that being responsible and hardworking is the path to becoming an independent woman. Only then can we help the people we love.

“Evelyn is responsible and goes the extra mile to help her peers. Academically strong, she asks deep questions, and probes to understand themes and concepts.”

Yumi Matsui, Teacher
Life Academy

Long Nguyen
Long Nguyen
Long Nguyen
Oakland Technical High School
Stanford

Through the Faces for the Future internship I developed a love for the operating room. Working in Anesthesiology, I developed a fascination for the internal parts of a patient. And when I saw the reaction of the patients’ loved ones when the doctor told them the procedure was success, I knew I wanted to be that person. Life is the greatest gift you can give someone. Being accepted at Stanford was the first time in my life that I made my parents truly proud, but I know it will not be the last.

“Long joined the Junior State of America debate club to strengthen his public speaking to provide more effective health education and advocacy for his community.”

Catherine West, Faces for the Future
Children’s Hospital, Oakland

“Long is an outstanding student, but what I am most impressed with is his character. Currently, he is fundraising to support a child in Africa through World Vision.”

Doris Chai, Math Teacher
Oakland Technical High School

Edwin Soto Edwin Soto Edwin Soto
Oakland Tech
UC Davis
In the Engineering Academy I’ve gained a firm idea of what Engineering is and its related fields. Working on Close-Up I’ll experience government and politicians. I take every opportunity to enhance my speaking and thinking abilities. What my mother had to go through just to come to this country motivates me. I know that no-one is going to take care of me except for myself; I absorb all I can now so that I can support myself and my children in the future.

“Edwin developed and completed complex County and State Fair engineering projects. Pushed to his academic limits, his “stick to it and finish it” attitude prevailed.”

Parker Merrill, Teacher Director
Engineering Academy Oakland Tech